Sacramento, CA (Sports Network) - Shaquille O'Neal is set to become an NBA
The four-time NBA champion will purchase a minority stake in the Sacramento
New owner Vivek Ranadive tweeted the news on Monday.
"Join me in welcoming @SHAQ to the @SacramentoKings! Only one way to go from
here!" Ranadive wrote.
It's just the latest move for a franchise that nearly left California's
capital at the beginning of the year and is completely rebuilding.
An investment group headed by Ranadive purchased the Kings from the Maloof
family last May for a reported $534 million. The Maloofs had agreed last
January to sell to a group that would have moved the franchise to Seattle, but
Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson -- a former NBA player -- worked to keep the
club in the city with a new stadium plan and Ranadive's proposal.
The NBA heard from both groups in April and decided, by a 22-8 vote, to keep
the team in Sacramento.
O'Neal's involvement with the Kings, according to USA Today, stems from his
relationship with another of Ranadive's investors, 24-Hour Fitness founder
Mark Mastrov. The publication said O'Neal frequented Mastrov's gyms during his
playing days with the Los Angeles Lakers.
USA Today said O'Neal was planning to help mentor Kings center DeMarcus
Cousins, but that a recent meeting with Ranadive spurred bigger things.
The Kings were once O'Neal's foil. His Lakers eliminated the Kings in the
playoffs during each of LA's title runs from 2000-02, and he once referred to
the club as the "Queens."
Before adding O'Neal, the Kings reshaped their front office and coaching staff
in the wake of a seventh straight losing season.
Pete D'Alessandro was tabbed as the new general manager, while Mike Malone was
chosen as the new head coach. The club also brought in Hall of Famer Chris
Mullin as an advisor to the chairman.
The Sports Network